Spotlight: Chronicling Contemporary Scenes, Chinese Artist Li Jin’s Ink Paintings Blend Irreverence and Tradition

The famed artist with an eye for life's pleasures shows with Dubner Moderne in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Artist Li Jin.

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About the Artist: Chinese contemporary artist Li Jin is regarded as a master of ink painting. His playful and often irreverent works are rooted in traditional techniques but portray current characters and scenarios. Li Jin shows with Dubner Moderne in Lausanne, Switzerland, and has exhibited his works internationally. In 2010, his work was included in the influential exhibition “Fresh Ink: Ten Takes on Chinese Tradition” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In 2015, a retrospective at the Long Museum in Shanghai surveyed 30 years of his career, and in 2012 he was featured in a solo exhibition at the Today Art Museum in Beijing.

Why We Like It:  Sensory pleasure permeates Li Jin’s works. The images are filled with tattooed women, pot-bellied men, and elaborate banquet feasts. The scenes aren’t especially flattering and border on the satirical, but Li Jin’s mischievous sense of life’s delectations imbues the works with authenticity. Aside from men and women, Li Jin paints scenes of food and drink, with entire exhibitions devoted to his gastronomical visions: He devoted one series to types of fish, which he rendered with his characteristic detail and humor. 

According to the Gallery: Li Jin has the confidence to portray persons and things simply so that their significance, beauty, and worth speak for themselves. Replete with humor and his unmistakable joie de vivre, Li Jin translates the usually mundane and quotidian aspects of life into a colorful and eloquent narrative of the moment using the tools of tradition. As an artist, his perception of beauty and detail blossom from his appreciation as an active observer and partaker in life. Whether they depict a table abounding with epicurean delights, a moment of quiet contemplation, or the enticing passions of love, his graceful and masterly brushstrokes tell stories that are common to all, for they are the simple pleasures of life.” 

Browse works by the artist below. 


The Past (2014)
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Li Jin, The Past (2014). Courtesy of Dubner Moderne

Li Jin, The Past (2014). Courtesy of Dubner Moderne.


The Gentle Breeze (2013)
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Li Jin, The Gentle Breeze (2013). Courtesy of Dubner Moderne

Li Jin, The Gentle Breeze (2013). Courtesy of Dubner Moderne.


A Month of Sundays (2015)
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Li Jin, A Month of Sunday (2015). Courtesy of Dubner Moderne

Li Jin, A Month of Sundays (2015). Courtesy of Dubner Moderne.

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